Rights groups call for immediate release of South Sudanese journalists
The six journalists reportedly work for the state-run South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.
Rights groups have called for the immediate release of six journalists who they claim were wrongfully detained after the video of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, 71, urinating on himself was leaked to the public in December.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), on January 3rd, agents from the National Security Service apprehended six journalists working for the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.
The leaked footage showed President Kiir urinating on himself while attending an official function, reports say.
Sad situation after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit wets his pants at a public function.— SomaliaNOW🇸🇴 (@Riovice) December 17, 2022
This is the future of every African country.
The presidential office later said he urinated himself from the “extreme patriotism” he felt. pic.twitter.com/QDsPOJlRJj
The CPJ said in a statement on Friday that the arrests match "a pattern of security personnel resorting to arbitrary detention whenever officials deem coverage unfavorable."
"Authorities should unconditionally release these six SSBC employees and ensure that they can work without further intimidation or threat of arrest."
Those detained are control room director Joval Tombe, camera operator & technician Victor Lado, camera operators Joseph Oliver & Jacob Benjamin, camera operator & technician Mustafa Osman & control room technician Cherbek Ruben,according to media reports & people who spoke to CPJ— CPJ Africa (@CPJAfrica) January 6, 2023
The Union of Journalists of South Sudan echoed the need for a "speedy conclusion" to the case, stating that "if there is a prima facie case of professional misconduct or offense, then let authorities expedite an administrative or legal process to address the issue in a fair, transparent (manner), and in accordance with the law," in a statement issued on Friday.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but slid into a civil war two years later that left nearly 400,000 people dead.
Former rebel leader Salva Kiir became president of South Sudan, the world's newest state, when it gained independence in 2011.
Despite signing a peace agreement in 2018, sporadic acts of violence continued between the government and opposition forces, in addition to conflicts between ethnic groups within the country which resulted in casualties.
Read more: South Sudan clashes kill 166, displace 20,000+: UN